Former Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union president Mr Silas Hungwe has died. He was 92. Mr Hungwe died at his Mabelreign, Harare, home yesterday after a long illness.
ZFU director Mr Paul Zakariya yesterday confirmed the death of the former union president.
“Mr Hungwe has not been feeling well for a long time. ZFU has lost a great man who contributed a lot to the agricultural industry,” he said.
Mr Zakariya said Mr Hungwe commanded a lot of respect among farmers because of his work in the agricultural industry, especially the small-scale sector.
“We have lost a dedicated man who represented small-scale farmers for the greater part of his life.
“He was an important figure in the generational transition of wealth of knowledge and this will never be replaced.
“Mr Hungwe pushed hard for productivity in agriculture. He came up with many initiatives to boost agriculture productivity, chief among them the Master Farmer Training that saw more than 37 000 farmers being trained,” he said.
Born Sarayi Dunira Hungwe on August 24, 1924 in Masvingo, Mr Hungwe attained an Advanced Master Farmer Certificate, majoring in groundnuts, sorghum, livestock and farm management.
In 1981, he became the vice president of National Farmers’ Association of Zimbabwe.
He became the ZFU vice president in 1991 after the merger of National Farmers’ Association of Zimbabwe and National Farmers Union under the banner of ZFU.
In 1996, Mr Hungwe became the president of ZFU.
Mr Hungwe received a number of awards from regional and international organisations.
He was awarded an Honorary Diploma in Appreciation of Exertion, Profound Efforts for Sustainable African Agricultural Development by the International Federation of Agriculture Producers (IFAP).
The Zimbabwe Open University accorded him an Honorary Doctorate in Agricultural Management.
He was also a founding member of various regional and continental farmer interest groups such as the Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions (SACAU), which represents 14 national farmers’ unions and the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO) representing farmers across Africa.
ZFU, under his leadership, became a member of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO).
In 2014, Mr Hungwe was conferred the status of honorary president of ZFU. Mr Hungwe is survived by wife Rhoda, five children and several grandchildren. Mourners are gathered at house number 14, 18th Crescent, Mabelreign.